Dolphins and Noise

Since the advent of large-scale industrialisation, acoustic habitats have become increasingly disrupted by anthropogenic noise. Shipping, offshore construction, oil and gas exploration, and sonar operations contribute to the soundscape of the ocean. This noise can mask acoustic cues and elicit behavioural responses, with the potential to cause chronic physiological stress and wider effects on populations and communities. Owing to the increase of boat-traffic in the ocean many studies have been conducted to determine the response of bottlenose dolphin to this kind of disturbance. This species is affected by boats in various ways and the response depends on the behavioural state of the dolphin but also on the kind of vessel.

Main objective: to measure the effect of man made noise on the behaviour and acoustic of bottlenose dolphins.

Reason: Studies of the last twenty years have pointed out that man-made noise has changed the acoustic landscape of many areas and that it is a cause of deterioration of the good status of species conservation, especially in proximity of populated coasts. Man-made noise is currently recognised as a major global pollutant in the 21st Century and is included in both national and international legislation (US National Environment Policy Act and the European Commission Strategy Framework Directive). According to European Directives, the introduction in the environment of energy, even in the form of noise/vibrations, should be maintained at levels which do not impair the marine environment (Directive 2008/56 / EC of the European Parliament and of the Council - June 17, 2008). This project is part of an international scientific cooperation with the Blue World Institute (Croatia) and the Dolphin Biology and Conservation (Greece)

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La Manna et al., 2013. Behavioural strategy of common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in response to different kinds of boats in the waters of Lampedusa Island (Italy). Aquatic conservation: marine and freshwater ecosystems 23(5).

La Manna et al., 2014. Monitoring the habitat use of common Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) using passive acoustics in a Mediterranean marine protected area. Marine Mediterranean Science 15(2).

La Manna et al., 2019. Influence of environmental, social and behavioural variables on the whistling of the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.